Andrew Patterson (38), affectionately known as “Mountain Drew”, an avid hiker and entrepreneur, originally from Johannesburg started 2018 with a mission to climb Table Mountain 365 times with his 365 Ubuntu Climbs initiative.
The project, set up on donations-based crowdfunding platform, BackaBuddy aims to raise an inspiring R1 million rand in aid of 3 remarkable non-profit organisations, Habitat for Humanity, One Life for Kids and The Sunflower Fund.
Andrew is approaching the 100th climb with the same level of determination as when he started on the 1st of January. He has since hiked a total of 667km, with 70km of that being vertical climbing (the equivalent of almost 19 Mount Everest climbs). Reaching this milestone Andrew shares that he has learned a lot about his capabilities as an individual.
“I’ve learned how patient I am; and relearning how steadfast I am when it comes to committing to something bigger than myself. Truth be told -I’m only just beginning to learn what I’m capable of as I scratch the surface of my challenge this year. ” Says Andrew
Andrew hasn’t always been alone, 184 climbers have so far accompanied him up the mountain and have also contributed generously to his BackaBuddy campaign. Thus far a total of R 159 639.78 has been raised with the support of over 156 donors. The average donation being a generous R1000.
“This entire experience is even greater than I ever imagined. The people I get to meet, the conversations that we have on the mountain, the enthusiasm for people to get behind this to make a real difference in this country (from as far away as New Zealand and Iceland) has been mind blowing. It’s goes to show that you can never fully grasp the full power of an idea until you act on it and start to see it blooming.”
Engaging with the beneficiaries of the climb has also given Andrew the motivation to get up every morning and to focus on what he set out to achieve.
“I was invited to build a house with Habitat For Humanity and had the privilege to interview Masande, one of the daughters that would be leaving the shack with their new home being built as we speak. It gave me tremendous spirit to hear her speak and share her dreams ideas and aspirations.”
Although Andrew hasn’t missed a single climb to date, He admits it hasn’t always been easy.
“Climb 26 was the toughest – the wind was exceptionally strong with gusts of up to 80km/h at the top. The Tablecloth cloud was essentially reaching the road it was so strong. Walking up in wind like that is dangerous in the sense that once you stand tall after taking a step you can get blown off the mountain, so each step you need to remain as close to the ground as possible and pretend to be Gollum from the Lord of the Rings!” – says Andrew
On the 10th of April, Andrew completed his 100th climb with one of the most challenging routes Table Mountain as to offer, the ‘Left Face Mystery B’, a climb estimated to take approximately 3.5 hours. He was joined by Lisa Rouhan, Jessie Stuart and Jean-Pierre Brits – avid supporters of Andrew’s cause.
Andrew has also put together an event to celebrate The Sprit of Ubuntu and the 100th Climb at the Harvest Café Deli in Cape Town.
“Each of the charities benefitting from my BackaBuddy campaign are going to be there to speak about the amazing work that they do and what they hope to do with the funds raised. Jamie Marais, once called the fittest man in South Africa, is our guest speaker to share his record of climbing Table Mountain 22 times in 28 hours and the lessons he got from that.”
How to get involved with Andrew’s Campaign :
Andrew would like to encourage all South Africans to donate to his project to create a positive impact on those less fortunate.
By making a donation the BackaBuddy campaign, donors will be invited to join the experience on a day of their choosing. Weather permitting, Andrew suggests a 6am early start or a late afternoon hike starting around 3 pm.
Donate Directly to Andrew’s cause here
Check out these inspiring messages from a few of Andrew’s donors.
“Thank you Andrew – you inspire so many , and you have definitely inspired me” – Rasheda van den Hurk
“In solidarity with 365Ubuntuclimbs I am honoring the words of Robert Kennedy that he delivered in a speech at the University of Cape Town in 1966” – Virginia Fox
“Dear Andrew, we wish you good health for your daily hikes. It won’t be easy but the bright idea you had will keep giving you the power”– Jan Pieter and Helen Beekhuis from Switzerland
“MountainDrew, you are a Legend in my books! An ordinary guy that has chosen to do something extraordinary! It takes one idea, one thought, one action that can set in motion a positive chain of events” – Dexi Dex
“On behalf of One Heart for Kids I thank you Andrew for your courage, tenacity and willingness to change the lives of our children. Our hearts will be with you every step of every day this year!” – Lisa Thompson Smeddle
“Incredible human being making an incredible contribution to our country. Thank you!” – Nicci Drzewicki
“What an awesome initiative, After climbing with you Andrew, I realize what an incredible task it is you took on. I salute you.” – Karel Vermeulen
- BackaBuddy a proudly South African crowdfunding platform where individuals have the opportunity to raise funds for causes they feel passionate about.